Ellekan, an islet in Marshall Islands, has been reduced to a pile of sand in the middle of the reef. Those who loved it have already held its funeral
- Before it is lost is series of essays from the Pacific islands
On a trip to the islet of Kalalen, eight years ago, a man named Yoster Harris ran out to meet me.
Yoster is married to the alap, or landowner, of Kalalen and he took my hand and led me to point out Ellekan, a neighbouring islet at the very end of the Majuro atoll lagoon, in my home of the Marshall Islands in the north Pacific.
It didn’t look like much. Just a pile of sand in the middle of the reef. It looked like a sandbar.
It used to have trees, he assured me. Just five years before there had been trees and he used to camp there, and pick the bob, the pandanus.
“It’s dead,” Yoster told me. “We’ve already had its funeral. But you need to save the others.”